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Wouldn’t We All Like A Greek Revival Flat Top Or, At The Least, Five Enclosed Porches???

Wouldn’t We All Like A Greek Revival Flat Top???

The Home of Jack Berson, Greek Revival Style, Fort Smith, Arkansas

“When used with skill the style has a certain chaste simplicity and dignity that is attractive in many ways,

but its use implies a sort of formal attitude that most modern Americans object to.”

By 1920, Jack Berson (1897-?) was saving money, living at home with his father and brother in Fort Smith, Arkansas, working full time in a dry goods house.  Prior to the general emergence of the department store, clothing would have been sold in specialized stores or in large shops that were limited to what was referred to as dry goods.  Dry goods usually encompassed textiles, ready-to-wear clothing, and sundries.  Dry goods apparently did Berson well…

A Greek Revival Style House with a Flat Roof, Haralson and Nelson, Fort Smith Arkansas, Curator of Shit, Architectural History

Greek Revival Flat Top of Mr. Jack Berson, Facade View


In 1924, by the age of 27, Jack Berson left his father’s home at 531 May Avenue to buy this modest, but “modern” dwelling that, while small, was elegantly stylized in the Greek Revival taste.  At this point it was very fashionable to have a sun porch, sun parlor or a sleeping porch, often terms that were interchangeable in the descriptions of houses in this period.  In fact, the porch had become so popular that most middle class people had them in multiples.  The house was designed by Haralson and Nelson, architects, Fort Smith, Arkansas.  And it was unusual at that time to being thinking Grecian…

Porches, Interior Layout, Greek Revival House, Flat Roofs, Curator of Shit, With a closed in front porch, appearing as an integral portion of the primary facade, this was one of five porches within the main block of the house.  While the 1924 article in Building Age highlighted this simple dwelling for its flat top roof, the porches are completely out of control, but no doubt were quite charming–a front porch, a sun porch, a side porch, a sleeping porch, and a back porch.  If there had been another classification for the porch, it would have been jammed into this house.  While the house looks attractive enough, Berson had removed and married by 1930 to a new house, this one a rental, far far away in Roanoke, Virginia–where the term dry goods had vanished, just as Berson did from Fort Smith–for a new position…in a clothing store…as a manager…

And you better believe that Berson’s rental in Roanoke was not advantageous enough to have five porches…or a trunk room at that…

One Response to “Wouldn’t We All Like A Greek Revival Flat Top Or, At The Least, Five Enclosed Porches???”
  1. Joe Wasson says:

    Kinda late but I just wanted to tell you that the Jack Berson house is still standing in Fort Smith. Glad to find out it’s a Haralson and Nelson design. Thanks! Joe

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